Sanyo and Suzuki have announced a collaborative project resulting in the development of an electric drive system for an prototype scooter named e-Let's. About the same weight as the petrol scooter it was based on, the prototype has a claimed range of 18.6 miles and its battery pack can be charged using a household outlet. The scooter is currently undergoing on-road trials leading to possible commercialization.
Based on a petrol-engined model called the Let's4 basket, the e-Let's features an in-wheel electric motor to the rear with regenerative braking, a dedicated charger and battery system, a "high efficiency control circuit" and a Li-ion battery pack. The developers have managed to keep the new prototype at about the same weight (74kg) as its petrol predecessor.
The e-Let's scooter is charged from a 100V household outlet and a single charge is said to take about four hours and should be good for a journey of around 18.6 miles (30km), not exactly ground-breaking but sufficient for most inner city journeys. The prototype is said to offer the kind of "smooth acceleration, nimble performance, low noise, low vibration" that is making electric scooters an attractive short commute option.
Last week, Suzuki began testing the prototype on public roads in Japan and plans to use the data gathered to create a production model. The road trials will also be conducted as part of the Hamamatsu Social Experiment Project on Next-Generation Eco-Cars announced in May.